February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Meditative Gaming: Prune | Touch and Go

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For the past few weeks we’ve been highlighting gaming apps that encourage kids to flex their strategy skills. This app does that and more. Prune isn’t a new app, but it is one that will have users taking a step back and breathing deeply while they play. Act fast for the 2nd anniversary sale price.

Screen from Prune (Joe McDonald)

Imagine taking time to slowly and gradually trim a bonsai tree into a very precise shape. Now imagine that there’s an app for that, but instead of one ordinary tree it’s a series of trees that must find their way into the light to bloom. As Joe McDonald’s game Prune (iOS, Android, both currently $.99; Gr 4 Up) progresses, players have to figure out how to nurture their trees into unusual shapes and various directions in order to avoid obstacles such as spinning blades and ominous glowing orbs. The way to do this is by pruning each tree, sacrificing some boughs so that others can grow. Players will learn how this game works through intuition and trial-and-error. There’s a minimum of text; a pointing finger on the screen indicates where users should touch and swipe their fingers to grow and prune each tree.

Like a Zen garden, Prune encourages players’ minds to unwind while still maintaining focus. Many will find the game relaxing, but some might be frustrated by how many times they fail before they can make those elusive flowers bloom. While the premise of Prune is simple, two aspects of this game elevate it into an amazing experience: the Oscar-worthy animation and the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. A trailer is available. VERDICT A stunning but simple game that will encourage players of all ages to be patient in order to be rewarded.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.


Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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